McQuien’s Musings: Challenges and Opportunities in 2018

With the New Year having just turned the corner, we face a number of challenges and opportunities confronting us in 2018. On the international level we face diplomatic and military crises in far-flung locations such as North Korea, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. On the national level we face political, economic, and moral issues, including income inequality, controversial income tax legislation, and sexual misbehavior in high places.
One of the biggest social problems confronting us is the increasing concentration of wealth among the fortunate few, while the number of homeless and food-needy citizens continues to swell. An article in the Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, issue of the “San Antonio Express-News” stated that “Just 10 percent of the wealthiest households owned 84 percent of the value of American stocks in 2016.” The article added that “the richest 1 percent owned nearly 40 percent of all wealth in 2016.”
In addition, an article by Carson Frame of National Public Radio pointed out that, “On a single night in January [2016], 23,548 people were experiencing homelessness in Texas, a 1.8 percent increase over last year.” She reported that part of the increase resulted from higher rental rates, which increased pressure on low-income individuals and families.
Whatever one personally believes concerning these challenges, policies, and statistics, opportunities abound, especially in helping those who lack adequate daily sustenance. Specifically, I have become personally familiar with two Church of Christ sponsored projects to feed homeless and undernourished people in San Antonio.
The first of these is the Food Pantry at the San Antonio College Church of Christ Student Center. The San Antonio Food Bank makes food items available at a steeply discounted price to keep this food resource supplied for the benefit of SAC students who need food aid, many of whom are living on a shoestring. The pantry also helps feed homeless or minimally sheltered residents of the nearby inner-city neighborhood.
The second example is a ministry at the Northside congregation in San Antonio called “Mobile Loaves and Fishes.” Modeled after a similar ministry in Austin, MLF uses a customized food truck to deliver food items three times a week to needy residents who gather at Garcia Park just west of downtown near the Haven of Hope campus. The truck distributes not only food items, but also clothing, shoes and socks, blankets, and personal hygiene items to help improve the recipients’ quality of life.
I realize that these are just two of the many ministries sponsored by individuals and churches throughout South Texas and beyond. I commend these efforts, and I would be happy to include articles concerning them in the “Christian News of South Texas.” I would also encourage everyone who is able (including myself) to get involved during 2018 in some form of service ministry, keeping in mind the words of our Savior, who fed the hungry and healed the sick: “I am among you as one who serves” (Lk. 22:27 NIV).

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